Thursday, August 21, 2008

Nerd Meter

I have been unusually busy at That Place Thou Shalt Not Blog About this week, and it's particularly annoying given that the things I've been unusually busy with are not even my OWN things at That Place Thou Shalt Not Blog About. Instead, they are the things that someone ELSE would be doing if someone else weren't on her second vacation this summer. Mind you, I wish that someone else no ill will. She's an impossibly nice woman and she deserves even more vacations for the things she puts up with when she's there. I just wish I hadn't somehow silently and inexplicably gotten nominated to do those things on the days she's not. Also, I wish there weren't a hole in my damn shower, so I could perhaps justify taking a vacation myself. Grr.

None of this is anything I should be any less vague about, however, partly because there is a reason we don't blog about the place in question and partly because it's really just not all that interesting a series of complaints. Instead then, I'll shift gears and take the lazy way out with a "Just Post a Link"* entry.

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* TM Noelle
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This article may be sort of a nerd meter... I'm well aware that not everyone is a punctuation enthusiast, but surely at least a few of you are like me and find that passionate and sincere discourse on the topic warms your geeky little heart.

If so, Salon.com's "Is the semicolon girlie?" might be of interest...

To me, the semicolon has a certain elegance, like a vodka martini; I don't whip it out every day, but on occasion, and with great relish.

. . . .

Seems to me they're arguing that complex thoughts and nuanced self-expression are chick things, and I'm not touching that one.

. . . .

Not only do I use semicolons, but when I see someone else use them (correctly) I elevate that person to a private pantheon... It's a very nuanced thing -- a test of ear and eye -- but delightful when done right. I haven't read it in 20 years, but in "The World According to Garp," I believe Garp warms to another character when she uses a semicolon in her letters.


I would never consider myself inordinately girlie, but my love of the semicolon is well documented. As for whether real men use semicolons? Well, I think we've already covered that.


13 comments:

3carnations said...

One of my coworkers uses semicolons a lot. But he uses them in list format, of which I'm not a fan. My love for the semicolon lies in its function of separating two independent clauses. Apparently I am a fickle semicolon lover.

nancypearlwannabe said...

I like using semicolons, but most of the time I'm just going on gut that they feel right and not that I necessarily know that they belong there.

lizgwiz said...

Don't hate me, but I kind of forget about the semicolon in my day-to-day blatherings. I should pay more attention, and be on the lookout for semicolon appropriate opportunities!

Aaron said...

Dude, I am a massive semicolon abuser. And I make no apologies. "Girlie": hah! If I use them, the must be oozing machismo.

Aaron said...

That should say "they" must be oozing machismo. Dammit.

Noelle said...

I like using the ; because it gives my long-suffering right pinky finger something to do.

Courtney said...

I love the semicolon, and I am not an especially girly girl. I do wonder sometimes if using it makes me look pretentious, though.

Ang said...

Just gotta say "woot! woot!" for the semicolon.

Alice said...

oh, total word nerd here. i heart me some semicolon action. of course.. i also heart proper conjugation, proper spelling, use of interesting vocabulary, and appropriate use of apostrophes. so.. um.. semicolons fit in there nicely :-)

Craig said...

I think I take offense to the idea that semicolons are "girlie", much as I do when the suggestion is made that one is less manly if he converses intelligently, isn't drunk, cooks or (perish the thought) bakes. It isn't as if I use them that often or that well. I just dislike the implication that educated and intelligent is equivalent to being "weak and womanlike on the battlefield."*

*Apologies for quoting a cartoon here, but it was what popped into my head.

Stefanie said...

3Cs--I don't have a problem with them in list format, as long as they're not used to INTRODUCE a list. Someone I work with does that, and it is just plain WRONG. I agree with you, though, that the beauty of the semicolon is in using it to properly link things. :-)

NPW--I could give you a lesson in this, if you'd like. No? OK then.

Liz--I don't hate you. Maybe you're more an em dash girl.

Aaron--Clearly. (And I knew what you meant, though I too hate it when I make a typo, particularly in a grammar-related post. Blast.)

Noelle--That's another way to look at it...

Courtney--I'm sure semicolons aren't the only thing making me look pretentious. I guess I've come to terms with it.

Ang--OK. Woot! Woot! (Is that you, Ang P., or do I have another Ang here?)

Alice--I'm a big fan of interesting vocabulary myself. I hate that I never seem to remember some of the most interesting words, though.

Craig--No apologies necessary, though I'll admit I had to Google that. I'm much more up on my Simpsons quotes than Futurama ones.

michelle of bleeding espresso said...

I love the semi-colon, and I'm not ashamed to admit it; I've had editors delete them and make new sentences, and it hurts *every* time :(

Lara said...

Did I ever tell you about the time I randomly asked out a guy I met at a baby shower? (Umm, yeah.) Anyway, in the course of our email-planning of the eventual date (which was horrendous, btw), he said, "let me guess, you were an English major". When I asked how he knew it, he said, "Who else uses semi-colons?"